Should Mesut Ozil come back in for Arsenal against BATE?


Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil hasn’t played for the club since late January amid illness and non-selection by manager Unai Emery.

Now, the Gunners need him more than ever as they look to overturn a one-goal deficit in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round-of-32 clash with BATE Borisov of Belarus this evening at the Emirates Stadium.

The north London club were defeated 1-0 in Barysaw last Thursday, succumbing to a Stanislaw Drahun strike on the stroke of half-time in a result that sent shockwaves around European football. There was double-frustration for Arsenal on the night as the dying moments saw striker Alexandre Lacazette sent off as tensions rose, meaning he’s unavailable for the second leg.

The Premier League’s sixth-placed team have won just two of their last five in all competitions and once in three matches since Ozil last played, in the home beating of Cardiff City on the night of Tuesday 29 January. Today, we compare him with the player he’s likely to replace if he came back in, fellow attack-minded midfielder Alexander Iwobi, to determine whether Emery should return him to his starting Xl.

Statistical comparison

The statistics in the below are the base that we are going to form our comparison on in this statistical tactical analysis, in order to determine whether Ozil should replace Iwobi. They are the two players’ offensive stats from the Europa League this season.

Mesut Ozil Alex Iwobi Arsenal Tactical Analysis Statistics

As you can see, the two Gunners separated in age by eight years have played a varying amount of football in Europe’s second-string club competition under Emery, with Iwobi totting up much more games and many more minutes.

However, Ozil is the one of them to have scored in the competition in 2018/2019, but whilst Iwobi may not have scored, he has assisted twice, something the German has only managed to do once. The attacking prowess of the Nigeria man is shown by him averaging more shots per game, though not as many as the impressive two key passes of his 30-year-old teammate.

The more skillful Iwobi has averaged more dribbles per match, but they continue to trade blow-for-blow as the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner has won more free-kicks, despite being found offside more in UEL action. But perhaps the experience and high quality of Ozil shines through in the end in this comparison, with the former Real Madrid midfielder winning the final three stats, number of times dispossessed per match, number of bad controls and average WhoScored match rating.


In conclusion, our comparative statistics-driven tactical analysis has discovered that, despite enjoying far fewer minutes on the pitch, Ozil has the better stats in the Europa League this season when compared to Iwobi.

This is both highly impressive and damning and can only point to one thing for Emery. If he wants to be sure of avoiding another embarrassment tonight, he has to include Ozil in his starting Xl.

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